So aside from hearing that people could never go vegan because of cheese, the other excuse we vegans hear often is “but…bacon…”! I don’t know about you, but I definitely didn’t give up meat because I don’t like the taste, and the smoky saltiness of bacon is one of the flavours I’ve been trying to recreate since (but without, you know, the animal cruelty).
I’ve tried store bought vegan bacon, I’ve tried making vegan bacon out of seitan and I’ve even tried making vegan bacon out of coconut flakes, but none of them came close until my first attempt with tofu. I got the texture right on the first go but I wasn’t quite there with the flavour, so I’ve refined this recipe again and again until I got what I think is the best vegan bacon I’ve eaten. And I’m not just saying that because it’s my recipe. Promise!
This is my second seitan recipe (my first was my vegan ‘pork’ and apple sausage rolls recipe) and it was one that I knew would be a hit as soon as I took my first taste! I originally tested the seitan recipe by making ten bites, and once I’d tried one immediately went back into the kitchen to make another twenty to take to a birthday gathering the next day. They went down well with omnis, veggies and vegans alike, so all in all I’d say that’s a good measure of success! The creamy roasted garlic dip really complements the flavour of the sundried tomato in the bites, but if you don’t have any garlic to hand these would also pair beautifully with some vegan mayonnaise.
However long you’ve been vegan, I can guarantee that you’ve heard the words “I would go vegan, but I could never give up cheese!” escape at least one person’s mouth. These days there are so many cheese alternatives for vegans that everyone is bound to find at least one they like, and most can easily be bought at your local supermarket. However, the one cheese I’ve not found available to buy is vegan ricotta cheese.
This recipe for vegan ricotta cheese takes one vegan staple food – tofu – and turns it into a delicious vegan cheese ready for use in any recipe you want. As with ‘regular’ ricotta cheese, this vegan version is extremely versatile as it doesn’t have an overpowering flavour. This means that although it can be eaten on its own on top of crackers, it also tastes great paired with any number of other flavours. My favourite way to eat vegan ricotta cheese is in a big baguette, topped with vine ripened tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of black pepper.
The best thing about this recipe? It only takes 5 minutes and 5 ingredients (plus seasoning) to make!
I picked up some Balsajo black garlic at the London Animal Free Festival last year. I’d never heard of black garlic before, and had no idea how to use it, but I’m a sucker for new ingredients! Although I’ve now used it in recipes such as chilli and bolognese, I really wanted to use it in something that allowed the sweet, balsamicky flavour to really stand out. Here, I’ve paired the black garlic with tangy sundried tomatoes in a soft loaf of bread. Overall, bread-making does take a while, but the hands-on time for this recipe is only around 15 minutes, and proving the dough is essential for getting the perfect taste and texture. It’s a great recipe to try on a lazy Sunday and will set you up with bread for the rest of the week.
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of oil
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1/2 a red apple (peeled and chopped into small pieces)
1 pack puff pastry
4 tablespoons aquafaba* (or sub melted vegan butter or soy milk)
*Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas.